As you walk towards a rehearsal room on Day One it’s impossible not to feel a little bit like you may just carry on walking and not go in at all.
Before you start, the possibilities are limitless. Safe in your imagination, the show could be anything – somehow, this time, the laws of physics will be broken. You can smell the awards.
But as soon as you set foot in the room, reality bites. The walls close in and the dreams of world domination come tumbling down. We will have a few chairs, a pile of old coats to play with, some people and ten weeks to turn words on a page into theatrical gold.
I could just carry on walking.
Another problem with any new show is that I always have a fairly ripe memory of the last one. And as you look back it’s impossible not to have just a little bit of romance about the past. How wonderful it was when I did that bit on the stairs, wasn’t it great when so and so made us all laugh night after night after night. Hang on – couldn’t we just do what we did last time? If only.
Still not too late to turn back and go home.
So. Week One. Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. 450 or so pages of some of the craziest satire written. It has magic, murder, romance, insanity, about 100 totally believable, perfectly realised individuals with names that are impossible to remember. Oh, and a talking cat. The book they said could never be successfully adapted for the theatre. Well, they said that about ‘Carrie’ didn’t they? Oh.
- Richard Katz